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Vale, Odebrecht & The Dossier Machine

Screenshot from 2013-10-17 14:38:38

Source: Brasil de Fato.

Vale do Rio Doce and Odebrecht are two of the companies that sponsored the 8th Global Conference on Investigative Journalism, which concluded this Tuesday.

Despite this, the fact that these companies are accused of practicing espionage made them a target for protests during the event.

“Despite all of the accusations of illegal activity, companies like Vale and Odebrecht manage to preserve their public image with millions in cultural sponsorships, as well as advertising in newspapers, magazines and on TV,” said a spokesperson for a activist group critical of Vale and its conduct.

According to accusations by Vale’s former chief of security, André Luis Costa de Almeida, presented to the federal Public Ministry (MPF), the company spies on social movements, infiltrating agents in Rio, Espírito Santo, Minas Gerais, Pará and Maranhão; it pays bribes to public officials in the federal police and state judiciary to obtain information used to support “internal investigations;” it intrudes on the privacy of employees; taps phones, including the phones of journalists; and produces dossiers on politicians and leadership elements of social movements.

According to a report by Agência Pública, the landless workers movement (MST) is the principal target of Vale’s security forces, along with the Justiça nos Trilhos (JT) network, headquartered in Açailândia, Maranhão, which brings together various human rights groups affect by the actions of the export sector.

Screenshot from 2013-10-17 14:58:55

A Pública — above, part of its link ecosystem — is proudly sponsored by the Ford Foundation and tied into its international network of journalism projects — Observatório da Imprensa is another example.

For nearly two years, the JT has waged war in the courtroom with Vale in opposition to a project to amplify the railway — a project without an environmental license — in order to handle expanding production from the mines at Carajás, a project that will have various impacts on communities, cutting through environmental reserves, indigenous territory, and quilombolas — the historical freeholdings of escaped slaves.

Odebrecht, for its part, is a member of the Belo Monte Construction Consortium. In February of this year, an employee of the consortium was caught spying on a meeting of the movement Xingu Forever.

Or, “The Living Xingu Forever.”

According to the Indigenist Missionary Council,  during a meeting, “the movement detected one of its participants, Antonio, a recent joiner of the movement, was recording the meeting with a spy pen.” He confessed his role as a spy and said he was employed by the Consortium to dig up information on leadership and activities of the Xingu Vivo movement.

“In this unequal situation, those who suffer the violence of these companies wind up marginalized. There is no space in the press for their stories. At most, they become footnotes on lost pages, there to support the impression of a supposed impartiality,” says the anti-Vale group.